Newport Council to double council tax to tackle vacant homes

Newport Council is set to double the amount of council tax on long-term empty homes in the region as part of a wider plan to tackle the issue of vacant properties.

The local authority has claimed the empty houses have a detrimental impact on communities and can cause problems for neighbours. Figures show there are 2,516 vacant properties in the city, with 1,142 exempt from council tax because they are undergoing major work.

The plans involve directives that would allow the council to charge double the council tax on properties which have been unoccupied and unfurnished for two years or more.

The average annual council tax bill for Band D properties in Newport is between £1,149-74 depending on the areas, meaning the council could collect around £2,200 per property a year.

It is hoped the extra premium will discourage long-term disuse and generate funding to help the council to work with owners to bring properties back into use.

Other councils have already brought in similar measures, with Anglesey Council voting through a 25 per cent increase and Pembrokeshire agreeing a 50 per cent increase from April 2017.